Here’s a good news story for this election. In a positive step for democracy the Open Government Partnership (OGP) has been affirmed in New Zealand. Five Parliamentary Parties have given a strong thumbs up for New Zealand’s continuing membership.
This survey was conducted on behalf of community (civil society) organisations and individuals who have served on the Public Service Commission’s Expert Advisory Panel (EAP).
It asked the six political parties likely to have MPs elected to Parliament to confirm their support for New Zealand remaining a member of the Partnership. It also asked if they would provide the ministerial leadership and appropriate resources (budgetary support). Those two elements would give New Zealand the greatest benefit out of its membership.
The Survey asked to answer “Yes” or “No” on three questions to ascertain:
- Your party’s support for continuing New Zealand’s membership of the Open Government Partnership:
- That your cabinet would support strong ministerial leadership during the co-creation of Open Government Action Plan commitments:
- That your government would support the effective delivery of commitments, ensuring that they are appropriately resourced:
All respondents replied “Yes” to the three questions
Some respondents added comments.
- The quickest to respond was Te Pāti Māori. “Te Pāti Māori answers YES to all options.”
- ACT told us that it “is concerned at the erosion of the Official Information Act in recent years, with a culture of secrecy and impunity becoming apparent in the public service and ministers’ offices. The long-standing review by the Ministry of Justice needs to be accelerated and the OIA given teeth. ACT supports this open government, and participating in international organisations and with NGOs reinforces that.”
- “The Green Party confirms our support for all 3 of the points below.”
- “The National Party remains committed to New Zealand's participation in the Open Government Partnership, a membership we proudly entered back in 2014. “
- “Thanks for your questions. The Labour Party's response to all three questions is YES, YES, YES.”
- New Zealand First came through at the last minute:”The answer to your three questions are all yes.”:
Belonging to OGP Matters
The OGP is a multilateral initiative focussed on strengthening public policy, service design, and building a stronger democracy. It was formed in 2011 by the then US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton and the then President of Brazil, economist, Dilma Rousseff. New Zealand was invited to be an inaugural member when UK PM David Cameron put the request to John Key, NZ PM at that time..
The Partnership was founded on the idea that better outcomes for the voting and taxpaying public are achieved when the Government is more open, participatory, and accountable. Its core principles are consistent with the cornerstones of New Zealand’s democracy.
Membership of the Partnership Increases Effectiveness and Efficiency of Democratic Government
In OGP member countries, the government and the public (often represented by civil society organisations) work in partnership to co-create National Action Plans made up of several projects (called ‘commitments’). Members learn from each other about ways to achieve better results (and improve wellbeing) faster.
At the OGP Global Summit in September 2023, the USA renewed its commitment to the OGP, pledging US$3 million for OGP programmes. The European Commissioner for International Partnerships similarly pledged €3 million. They clearly see the OGP as a key tool for countries to verifiably lift their performance on public service delivery and governance.
The OGP now has over a decade’s worth of research that demonstrates that commitments which are genuinely co-created between government and the community have better results. At the 2023 Summit, the OGP announced an additional mechanism of Open Government Challenges. This enables some of the major issues facing democracies around the world to be addressed.
You can read more about New Zealand’s OGP work at www.ogp.org.nz
The Open Government Declaration from 2011 is a worthwhile read for understanding the commitment and aspirations of the OGP.